Naboo, a French company that was created just a couple of years ago, is trying to create a modern online experience for company seminar planning. The startup recently raised an $8 million funding round (€7.5 million) and already processes more than $1.5 million in transaction volume per month.
On paper, Naboo is quite simple. It’s a marketplace of nice houses that you can browse and book in just a few clicks for your next corporate retreat with your team. But the company doesn’t just stop there.
Naboo provides an all-in-one experience for company seminars. In addition to a large listing of places, Naboo also works with caterers all around the country, knows the sort of activities that can be popular for offsite meetings and can arrange transportation for large groups.
The startup isn’t the first company specializing on company seminars. But Naboo is letting the customers in charge of deciding where they want to go. This way, Naboo can address smaller segments and organize smaller seminars.
Essentially, Naboo works better than having someone from the team browse Airbnb or Booking.com to find a place and then spend a few days organizing a company seminar and arranging all the little details. These tasks are time consuming and most often no one is officially in charge of company seminars.
Unlike professional agencies, Naboo displays everything on its website and lets the customers decide. The platform is upfront about pricing and availabilities.
“The real issue today is that companies want to organize seminars more at the team level than at the company level. They want to improve team cohesiveness as it has become essential with hybrid teams,” Naboo co-founder and CEO Maxime Eduardo told me.
Many companies no longer send everyone to Marrakech for a week. They would rather give a budget to a team leader and let them organize a small retreat with 20 employees in a small town not too far from the office.
ISAI, Kima Ventures and Better Angle participated in the company’s most recent funding round from November, as well as existing investors Cap Horn and Maif Avenir. It now works with 2,500 places and 500 partners, such as caterers and companies that can provide activities.
The company takes a 10 to 12% cut on bookings from the home owners, and a 6% cut on the client side. With around €1.5 million in monthly transaction volume, you can quickly calculate that Naboo is growing nicely.
Clients include Carrefour, Saint Gobain, Orange, Renault and many other publicly traded companies. Some of Naboo’s biggest clients even choose to work exclusively with them for all their seminars. This way, it’s easier to track each team’s budget across many events.
Up next, Naboo wants to add an AI browsing feature. Eduardo showed me a demo of this upcoming product, and it works well for complicated requests. It looks like a chatbot interface, but it leverages Naboo’s database to answer your queries.
For instance, you can ask for a house with at least 10 bedrooms that is less than two hours away from Paris, not far from a train station and with a ping-pong table. Naboo will answer with a table of potential houses with all your criteria neatly sorted in a table.
In fact, this AI browsing feature would also work well on Airbnb and Booking.com. I’m sure these tech giants are also working on AI products and it’s going to be interesting to see how these products will have an effect on travel in the future.